Cloud Uptake in Africa: South Africa leads; Kenya follows; Nigeria surging forward


Cloud-Computing-from-any-deviceCloud computing uptake is experiencing an upward trend in Africa’s major economies, as businesses gain confidence in both the security and reliability of the Cloud, according to the “Cloud in Africa: Reality Check 2013” research study released by World Wide Worx and Cisco.

The study – conducted across medium-sized organizations in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya – highlights considerable investment in cloud services and solution in 2014.

The results of the study states thus: “In 2013, 50 per cent of South Africa’s medium and large businesses are using Cloud services; while a slightly lower proportion – 48 per cent – are using the Cloud in Kenya. Nigeria lag’s substantially behind, with only 36 per cent of businesses there currently using the Cloud.”

However, while South Africa currently leads the continent in Cloud services – or the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer – it is about to be overtaken by Nigeria.

“A significant 44 per cent of Nigerian businesses say they will embrace the Cloud in the coming year, bringing the total in that country to 80% by the end of 2014. This compares to 24 per cent of organizations in Kenya and only 16 per cent in South Africa saying they will be taking up Cloud,” states the report.

According to the report, the key to the rapid adoption of Cloud computing in Nigeria and Kenya can be found in the growing confidence that IT decision-makers have in the environment and even where confidence is not high, distrust in Cloud has almost entirely disappeared.

“The survey showed that 57 per cent of decision-makers across the three countries had high confidence in the security of the Cloud, while a further 34 per cent were neutral – meaning they would wait and see, but were not negatively disposed towards it. Only 1 in 10 respondents did not trust security in the Cloud,” it adds.

An even higher level of confidence was expressed in the reliability of the Cloud – by 73 per cent of respondents across the three countries – while most of the rest – 25 per cent – were neutral on reliability.

“Cloud computing is the next big step in the evolution of computing and the Internet,” says David Meads, Cisco’s Vice President for Africa. “The broadband revolution sweeping Africa and the continent’s reputation for innovation add up to tremendous appetite for services that will drive this evolution. Looking ahead, the Internet of Everything represents the largest online trend today. As more people, things and devices connect to the Internet in Africa, more data from more places will be introduced across corporate and service provider networks, which will open up new opportunities and increased demand for the Cloud.”

Private Cloud is the most popular in 2013 with 25 per cent or organizations surveyed currently deploying this compared to 13 per cent opting for Hybrid Cloud and only 7 per cent of companies opting for the Public Cloud. In 2014, this trend is set to continue with 32 per cent of companies opting for the Private Cloud compared to 18 per cent for Hybrid Cloud and 16 per cent for Public Cloud.

The most popular category for cloud use today is storage (28 per cent of companies) followed by SaaS (10 per cent of companies surveyed).

“The fact that no one is expressing doubt about the reliability of the Cloud means that the final pieces of the puzzle are falling into place,” says Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx.

In the third annual Cisco Global Cloud Index (2012 – 2017), Cisco forecasts that global cloud traffic, the fastest growing component of data center traffic, is expected to grow 4.5-fold – a 35 percent combined annual growth rate (CAGR) – from 1.2 zettabytes of annual traffic in 2012 to 5.3 zettabytes by 2017.

Approximately 17 percent of data center traffic will be fueled by end users accessing clouds for web surfing, video streaming, collaboration and connected devices, all of which contribute to the Internet of Everything, which is the networked connection of people, data, process and things.

“People all over the world continue to demand the ability to access personal, business and entertainment content anywhere on any device, and each transaction in a virtualized, cloud environment can cause cascading effects on the network,” said Meads. “Because of this continuing trend, we are seeing huge increases in the amount of cloud traffic globally within, between and beyond data centers over the next four years.”

From a regional perspective, the Cisco Global Cloud Index predicts that through 2017, the Middle East and Africa will have the highest cloud traffic growth rate (57 percent CAGR), followed by Asia Pacific (43 percent CAGR) and Central and Eastern Europe (36 percent CAGR).